Even though there have been improvements in pressure ulcer/bed sore prevention across many UK care facilities, pressure ulcers continue to affect approximately 20% of all patients in hospitals, nursing homes and residential homes.
Developed pressure sores that could have been avoided are a key indicator of the quality of nursing in a care facility.
The cost of pressure ulcers
Preventing ulcers developing will greatly improve all care for vulnerable patients, both for the patient themselves and the caregiver. Effectively preventing pressure sores is far more cost effective and less of a strain on resources than allowing them to develop. It is estimated that each developed pressure ulcer adds additional costs of care of over £4,000.
They are the single most costly chronic wound to our National Health Service, costing £1.4-2.1 billion every year. 186,617 patients develop a pressure sore in hospitals each year, putting a significant strain on resources.
The majority of pressure ulcers are avoidable
Research presented by the NHS's 'Stop the Pressure' campaign suggests that a massive 95% of all pressure ulcers can be avoided with effective patient care. With the correct patient care, we could be saving millions of pounds and improving care for patients, carers and care operators.
"95% of pressure ulcers are preventable by using SSKIN"
My purpose in writing this post is to increase awareness around the SSKIN acronym which clearly and visually breaks down five easy-to-remember steps that ensure effective pressure care. The acronym applies to both the prevention and the treatment of pressure ulcers/sores...
SSKIN: 5 simple steps
The SSKIN acronym shows five actionable steps that greatly assist the prevention of pressure ulcers. The five letters stand for:
Surface: Ensure the surfaces supporting you patient offer sufficient pressure relief
Skin inspection: Early inspection enables early detection which is when ulcers are the easiest to treat
Keep your patients moving: Regular body movement assists blood flow and redistributes pressure
Incontinence/moisture: A clean and dry patient is less likely to develop pressure ulcers
Nutrition/hydration: The right diet and plenty of fluids keep the patient's skin healthy
Video summary by NHS Midlands and East
The SSKIN acronym was launched by NHS Midlands and East as part of their ambition to make life better for patients and the campaign has been rolled out nationally. View a video summary of SSKIN created by the trust...
The SSKIN Bundle
The Isle of Wight NHS Trust has created a reference guide for community health care teams that provides detailed guidance on the SSKIN concept.
View the NHS IoW SSKIN Bundle Guide [PDF]
Opera: The Pressure Care Experts
When it comes to the 'Surface' element of SSKIN, we're here to help you with all of your needs. The Opera pressure care range includes mattresses, cushions, seating and more, and working with tissue viability professionals we're constantly developing products to help care providers combat pressure damage. Need support? Contact our expert team.